Well Equipped Kids, Backpacks, Pt. 2

kids with packs 2
An unthinkable thought: to send a child to school without a well equipped backpack!

Yesterday I blogged about the ubiquitous back pack, primarily worn on the backs of school children everywhere. Inside is everything a child needs to succeed at school.

Here is the supply list for preschoolers and kindergarteners:

  • backpack
  • lunchbag
  • Number 2 pencils
  • Handheld pencil sharpener
  • Eraser
  • 5 inch blunt scissors
  • Glue stick
  • 4 ounce glue
  • Tape
  • Crayons
  • Crayon sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Watercolor paint
  • Folders
  • Tissue
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • Wide ruled notebook/pad

Uh HuH, Wow!

kid fallen from back pack
Bless his heart, he’s fallen and he can’t get up!

 

Here is the list for a middle schooler:

  • Pencil pouch
  • Blue or black ballpoint pens
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Highlighters
  • Permanent markers
  • Erasers
  • Three-ring binder
  • Three-hole-punch
  • Loose-leaf paper or spiral notebooks
  • Graph paper
  • Subject dividers
  • Index cards
  • Plastic folders
  • Glue
  • Post-its
  • White-Out
  • Protractor
  • Ruler
  • scissors
  • Graphing calculator
  • Combination lock
  • Personal organizer/calendar
  • Book socks
  • Backpack
  • Lunchbox or bag

Are You Kidding Me?

The amount of things it takes to succeed in school has grown since I was a boy.

 

Here’s a Thought

No decent parent would send their child to school without everything needed to succeed. It would be unthinkable, unimaginable and it wouldn’t happen.

 

Here’s Another Thought

 The backpack has everything a kid needs to succeed academically.

But what about spiritually?

If your child had a spiritual backpack, a God-Pack, what would be inside? What does a child need to succeed in school spiritually? The fruit of the Spirit?

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

Would their spiritual backpacks have courage, wisdom, strength, and confidence from God? Perhaps a healthy dose of self-respect and respect for others? How about honesty, integrity and good character?

I know. It’s easy to go to a store and buy everything a child needs for school, along with a backpack to carry it.

It’s harder to fill their hearts with the shield of faith to protect them from the sharply pointed attacks sure to come their way. It’s easier not to, but far more risky.

In Closing

No good parent would send their child to school without everything they need to succeed academically. Does a good parent send their child to school without everything they need to succeed spiritually?

Just a thought

shalom

 

“The Ubiquitous Backpack”

When did backpacks become necessary?

I’m not a backpack guy but clearly they are essential to thousands of hikers and to millions of children.

They seem an indispensable element within the culture of children’s academia. A kid without a backpack is like a milk shake without a straw.

Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes. Some have solid colors and some have stripes, patterns, and prints. There are packs with superheroes, sports stars and movie themes. Some are designed for girls or boys.

kids with packs 2

 

My Favorite?

I don’t use them so I don’t have a favorite, but the ones that make me smile are those on the backs of younger kids, the packs that are as big as the child and so heavy that a soft breeze could blow them over. 

kids with big packs 2

 

Modernization?

I’m not sure how sophisticated a backpack can get. It’s basically a bag with shoulder straps, but somehow the smart people at the pack places manage to find a way.

schoolbag for black kid

 

The Old Days

In the old days when kids walked to school, took the buss, or rode their bikes, they did so without a backpack. We didn’t have book bags, lockers, or even a plastic grocery sack. We didn’t carry anything. Perhaps it explains why none of us grew up to be the hope of our generation.

My Church

We do an annual back pack drive to help families in need. We buy the packs, fill them with supplies, and then bring them to, “Back Pack Sunday.” By the end of 2nd service the stage is covered in packs. We have a blessing for them and for the kids. Its pretty cool. 

In Closing

Across America children have started school, or are about to. According to the National Center For Public Education there will be 50 million kids in public schools and 6 million in private schools. 

kids with packs 1

So God bless you kids. Have a great year. Study hard, learn much, and prepare well. We are counting on you. And with a brand new back pack filled with every needed item you are all set. Wear them proudly. And just in case you don’t like your pack, don’t worry, you’ll get a new one next year.

Shalom

Three’s a Crowd?

I was thinking about the number 3.

Biblically…

Gideon’s army was whittled down to 300.

Moses had those who worshipped the golden calf killed, 3,000 died.

golden calf
Not the calf the Hebrew people worshipped, but close, really very close.

King Saul took 3,000 men to hunt for David. 

Job had 3,000 camels.

King Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs.

Samson pulled the pillars down and killed 3000 Philistines. 

Peter and the apostles baptized 3000 on the day of Pentecost.

Jesus had 3 disciples who were especially close: Peter, James and John.

Elijah prayed 3 times for rain.

Jesus prayed 3 times for the cup to pass.

There were 3 on the Mount of Transfiguration: Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

In the parable of the good Samaritan, 3 passed by, one stopped to help.

Jesus was 30 when he launched his ministry.

He was 33 when he died.

Jesus showed the 3 holes to his apostles, his hands and his side.

Peter denied Jesus 3 times. 

There were 3 crosses on Golgotha that day.

Jesus was in the tomb 3 days.

God is 1 but 3: Father, Son, and Spirit. 

Personally…

My parents had 3 sons.

My first date had her mother tag along. 

It took me 3 tries to pass my driver’s test. 

I’ve backed out of the garaged 3 times with the car door open.

I’ve been in 3 automobile accidents, two were bumper bumps, one wasn’t. 

I’ve been to Israel 3 times. 

I’ve done mission trip to 3 countries: Mexico, China, and Haiti.

I’ve climbed Mount Everest 3 times.

 I asked a girl for a date 3 times, she said no 3 times, then she married me.

All of the above 3’s are true except for 3 of them. 

In Conclusion

After careful consideration I’ve determined that I don’t have anything significant to say about the number 3. 

But thanks for reading this blog to the end.

 

 

 

 

A Battle: Colored Corn Starch

It’s not so much the heat, but the humidity. It’s more of a moist heat. 

Where?

Over Memorial Day weekend I attended our church’s Family Camp. It’s nice there, with a beautiful lake and all kinds of fun things to do. We had 30 families with a total of a 140 grandparents, parents, and kids. It was great.

What?

We had our annual “color war.” Teams are organized and given a Dixie cup used to fill and refill with colored powder. The whistle blows and we throw the powder on the other teams. It quickly descended into a free-for-all melee. That means all of them got a free shot at all of me. I left the field covered in blue, orange, yellow, and red. 

It was an epic beatdown. 

IMG_9486
Last year’s epic beatdown. This year was worse!

Result?

It was 90+ degrees with humidity around 114%. I was weak, dizzy, and confused. Then after the color war I was even worse! I ran and chased little kids because I could keep up with them. They chased me back and we laughed. When it was over I limped off in ignominious defeat. 

It was hot and sticky. I was a mess and I was done. 

Dignified?

Forget about it. There is no dignity in being a walking tie-dye shirt. But dignity wasn’t required. It was a time for silliness, for fun, and for interacting with kids and their parents in ways that never happen anywhere else. 

And Jesus?

Well, please don’t be bothered for I mean no disrespect. But I imagine Jesus being out there tossing the powder. I imagine the children running after him with wide eyes and big smiles. I can easily see him having fun, being silly, and making the children laugh. 

To Close

Perhaps I care too much about dignity and what others people think. Decorum and appropriateness are foundational to good character. It’s true. 

But don’t forget to laugh, to play, and be silly. There is an inner child in all of us, there is in me, and every now and then it’s a good thing to let him out to play.

Ours is more of a moist heat.

Shalom

 

Could the Preaching be Better?

I wish I was better at it, but I’m not.

Better At What?

Better at preaching. I’ve been preaching for forty years and still haven’t figured out what people want to hear. I’ve delivered around 3,500 sermons, a number representing Sunday morning and evening sermons, workshops, meetings, seminars, retreats, and special occasions. 

I’ve probably improved over the years, but who knows?

The Comments

Over the last several weeks, with a few weeks to go, I’ve conducted vision groups with my church. Each group has averaged about 15 people with a total of 27 groups. When finished I will have met with about half of the adult congregation. 

I ask each group the same three questions, primarily for their feedback relating to our vision for the future. But one of the questions addresses our worship services, including the sermons. Here are a few of the comments I’ve received about my preaching:

  1. Sermons are too long.
  2. Sermons are too short.
  3. Need sermons that have more heart.
  4. Need sermons that address personal struggles.
  5. Need sermons about coping with culture.
  6. Need sermon series that are topical.
  7. Need sermon series that go through books of the bible.
  8. Need sermons with fire and brimstone.
  9. Need more sermons that step on our toes.
  10. Need sermon series about other beliefs.
  11. Need more lessons about family. 
  12. Need more lessons from your holy land travels.
  13. Need lessons that teach us how to defend our faith.
  14. Need lessons about coping with failure. 
  15. Need lessons that teach us how to live right.
  16. Could the sermon notes be printed each week?
  17. Could you speak louder?
  18. Could you speak softer? 
  19. Could you preach sermons like I used to hear when I was young.
  20. We should not have sermons every week. 

 None of them were critical, negative or unkind. They were just comments.

And…?

Well, I appreciate the feedback. I do. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of it, but I appreciate it. 

I think they like it that I took the time to ask. In the interest of full disclosure, there’s been many comments about how much the sermons are appreciated.

 I can’t please everyone all of the time. Actually, I can’t please everyone any of the time. Perhaps the goal is to please a majority of the people a majority of the time.

IMG_9486
Maybe if I were more sophisticated, or polished, or better attired? 

In Closing

I preach what the Lord puts on my heart. I preach what comes out of my study, prayers, and mediation. I preach what the Holy Spirit gives me. Is it effective? Is it what people want to hear? I don’t know. I’ve never been very good at figuring out what people want to hear. 

I wish I was better at it, but I’m not.

Shalom

 

It Happened Sunday Night

“Tramp, Tramp, Tramp”

Do you know that song? It was a brutal Civil War marching song written by George F. Root in 1864 and was sung by soldiers as they marched into battle.

However

The tune wasn’t destined to remain a battle song. Nope, a lyricist named Clarence Herbert Woolston borrowed the music, gave it new words, and gave the song new life for generations to come.

Who was Clarence Woolston? He was born in 1856 and died in 1927. He was minister, author and writer of hymns and was Pastor of a Philadelphia church. 

And his song? You probably know it, have sung it, and even grew up with it. Here is a piece of the song he wrote:

“Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world, red and yellow black and   white, Jesus loves all the little children of the world.”

Yep

Woolston used the music of a Civil War marching song and transformed it into one of the most beloved songs of all time. Jesus loves the little children. Yep! Here are a couple of verses for you: 

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

“He took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them, and blessed them.” Mk 10:16

For Me

On Sunday night, our church’s Children’s Ministry performed their Easter Musical,

“It’s All Because of Jesus”

Watching sixty kids sing songs of praise was inspiring; they told the old, old story with young voices and fresh hearts. Jesus loves the little children indeed. 

Easter Musical

I cried during the performance, which isn’t at all unusual, but I did. Before they came into the Worship Center to start the performance, I had a moment to pray over them. That prayer was granted. There is just something about watching and hearing children sing about Jesus that melts my heart.

To Close

I get why Jesus loved kids. I understand why he wanted them to have unhindered access. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Sure, kids can be loud, busy and constantly moving, even distracting and disruptive at times. But it’s their hearts. Jesus saw their hearts, and the love of a child comes from the very center of their pure and precious hearts. 

Thank you Mr. Woolston

Your song is a big hit.